Four Types of Innovation – part 4

Four Types of Innovation – part 4“Obsolescence is something every company should fear, especially when it comes to this final form of innovation. Operational Innovation is more about the how of business than the what. Being efficient, up-to-date, and innovative in your processes, operations, and relationships is every bit as important as having a killer product or service. Every company and 100 percent of its workforce should be engaged in Operational Innovation at all times.”–excerpt from the book Breaking Away by Jane Stevenson & Bilal Kaafarani

This type of innovation is more about the how of business than the what. Whether it’s finding efficiencies that save time, improve quality, increase productivity, improve work environment or upgrade technology, running a forward moving, continually evolving company is essential to success. One word of caution though, like all types of innovation, Operational Innovation has to be tied to more than saving or making money. It has to benefit the customer. Every company and 100% of its workforce should be engaged in Operational Innovation at all times.

Examples: assembly line automation, retail display racks, online inventory control.

Defining Characteristics of Operational Innovation

  • Driven by internal insights and needs
  • Creates or changes organizational structure and processes
  • Improves work life
  • Improves productivity
  • Improves financial performance
  • Improves the customer experience through efficiencies and processes

Business Attributes of Operational Innovation

  • Focused on how to improve the company
  • Allows for cost savings that can benefit the company and customer
  • Requires focus on details
  • Operates on the project management level

In part one of this series we looked at Transformational Innovation. In part two of the series we looked at Category Innovation. In part three of this series, we looked at Marketplace Innovation.

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Jane StevensonNamed by BusinessWeek as one of the “100 Most Influential Search Consultants in the world”, Jane Stevenson is Vice Chairman, Board & CEO Services at Korn/Ferry International (Atlanta/New York). An industry expert on recruiting leaders, Jane was responsible for bringing in many of the first Chief Innovation Officers and CEOs who focused on growth through innovation. Jane is the coauthor of  Breaking Away: How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth–and Why Others Fail. (McGraw-Hill 2011).

Bilal KaafaraniNamed by BusinessWeek as one of the worlds “Top 25 Masters of Innovation”, Bilal Kaafarani is Chief Innovation Officer and Group President for Yildiz Holding (owner of Godiva, Ulker and 90+ other global brands) and Vice Chairman of Northstar Innovation in Istanbul, Turkey. A global innovation executive at P&G, Kraft, FritoLay, PepsiCo International and The Coca-Cola Company, he has worked with top brands and developed many innovations under his leadership. Bilal is the coauthor of  Breaking Away (McGraw-Hill 2011).

Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani




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